Dr David Kelly was befriended by Mrs Mai Pederson, an undercover US intelligence agent.
US spy confirms Dr Kelly's death 'was not suicide'
Dr Kelly, a leading weapons expert, was found dead by police in the woods near his home after being named as the insider who spoke to journalists about the lies told by the UK and US governments to justify the invasion of Iraq. Mrs Pederson was "one of the very first people to know that Dr Kelly's body had been found."
As a US military intelligence spy, Master Sergeant Mai Pederson was trained to attach to people identified as targets, befriend them, gain their trust, infiltrate their life, and then exploit them as directed by her superiors. She was a specialist in seducing male targets. Her husband, US Air Force Sergeant Mr Jim Pederson, described his wife's standard mode of operation:
"She has always been a spook of one kind or another.
She is invaluable in this job because she doesn't look
as though she's in military intelligence. She goes to
interrogate someone and she's tiny and beautiful, and
she flirts with them, and just sits down and chats.
Before they know it they've told her all sorts of stuff."
As well as basic combat skills, Mrs Pederson's training as a spy and assassin would have included sophisticated cover-up techniques, and in particular how to make murder look like suicide. As Mr Pederson boasted:
"She was proficient with a gun and basic unarmed
combat and worked under-cover for long periods -
called TDA for Temporary Duty Attachments - in
Egypt and, I believe, Iran. She was a very complex
Sgt. Pederson and Dr Kelly are thought to have been "more than friends" and may have had an "affair." Pederson initiated Dr Kelly into an arcane Eastern mystery cult, the Baha'i sect. The involvement of the intelligence services in mysterious religious groups is an extension of their special relationship with secret societies.
Despite her elite training, Master Sgt. Pederson may have become emotionally entangled in her attachment to Dr Kelly. As soon as his dead body was found she phoned her contacts at the Baha'i faith in California. The Baha'i leader Marilyn VonBerg disclosed the details of their conversation:
"It wasn't suicide. There will be more coming out on this."
Evidently Mrs Pederson knew in advance what the media would report about her dead assignment, because she warned her friends that they: "shouldn't believe what we would be reading in the newspapers."
Mrs Pederson had dissapeared by the time Dr Kelly's death had been announced. The US authorities have hidden their agent very well, and her loyal Baha'i brethren refuse to disclose her location. At the Maxwell Air Base in Montgomery where she was based the initial response to inquiries is: "We have no one here of that name that I can find."
Mail on Sunday, "Does this woman hold key to death of Kelly?", front-page, 7 September 2003.
THIS is the first picture of Sergeant Mai Pederson, a twice-married American spy who could hold vital clues to the death of Dr David Kelly.
Ms Pederson, 43, struck up a close friendship with the Ministry of Defence scientist when they were both serving with a UN weapons inspection team in Iraq, and has been questioned by officials investigating his death.
She is a veteran of the American military intelligence and also a devotee of the exotic Baha'i religious sect. She converted Dr Kelly to the faith in 1999.
Yesterday it was revealed that Sgt Pederson may now be called to give evidence at the Hutton inquiry into the death of 59-year-old Dr Kelly. ...
The developments have fuelled intense speculation in Whitehall. Observers said Sgt Pederson's testimony would open a new line of inquiry into the tragedy and perhaps supply unique insights into Dr Kelly's frame of mind and his links to international intelligence.
Last night Sgt Pederson appeared to be in hiding, with US officials refusing to discuss the affair or say where she was.
'This is not a US investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss the inquiry,' said a spokesman at the Maxwell-Gunter US Air Force base in Alabama, where Sgt Pederson is stationed. 'She is co-operating with the authorities. She has been very co-operative.'
Sgt Pederson's existence was [first] disclosed last week by the [establishment-linked] Labour-supporting [pro-government] Times newspaper on the morning that Dr Kelly's widow, Janice, gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry.
Mrs Kelly said Sgt Pederson had become a family friend who influenced her husband's commitment to the Baha'i faith.
Sgt Pederson's ex-husband, Jim, told friends last week that she was a 'spook' trained to 'cultivate anyone that might be able to help her in her intelligence work'.
She broke the news of Dr Kelly's death of fellow members of the Baha'i sect, telling them 'not to believe' what they would read about the affair in the press.
A Pentagon spokesman said last night: 'I can tell you emphatically that we are not hiding her. We do not hide people.'
Mail on Sunday, "Revealed: how a mysterious American spy befriended Dr David Kelly...", pp 6-7, 7 September 2003.
SHE is a flirtatious divorcee, a spy for the American Air Force, and a leading cheerleader for an exotic Eastern religious sect. And now she may hold the key to the lonely, mysterious death of Dr David Kelly.
Petite , exclusively pictured today by The Mail on Sunday, befriended Dr Kelly while both were serving as weapons inspectors in Iraq in 1998. Before long she converted him to the Baha'i faith.
Ms Pederson was in hiding last night, and has seldom been seen since Dr Kelly was found dead on July 18. Indeed, her existence was unknown until last week, when in a cryptic article that mysteriously failed to appear in its main edition, the Labour-supporting [pro-establishment, pro-government] Times newspaper disclosed that she had been the government scientist's spiritual mentor. Hitherto, almost nothing had been known about the enigmatic Dr Kelly's private life.
So what light could Mai Pederson shed on the tragedy of Dr Kelly, who was found dead after being named as a source for a BBC report that the Government had 'sexed up' the case for war on Iraq? The Mail on Sunday has found no evidence to support The Times repeated implication that the 59-year-old Dr Kelly and Mai Pederson - who was 16 years his junior -were more than friends. Nevertheless, it seems certain that the self-effacing government scientist did indeed fall under Pederson's spell...
In addition, it is clear that Pederson would have first-hand knowledge of Dr Kelly's immersion in the murky world of international intelligence.
It appears that Dr Kelly first met Ms Pederson in Iraq in December 1998. He was part of the UN's weapons inspection team; she was an Arabic-speaking USAF sergeant who had graduated from spy school and had held various posts in military intelligence.
She was also an energetic advocate of the Baha'i faith - oddly, perhaps, because of its avowed opposition to militarism.
... She was introduced [to Baha'i meetings in Monterey, California] as his spiritual mentor, to the puzzlement of some members of the sect.
'There are Baha'is all over the world, including England. He didn't have to come all this way,' one official said last week. Kristen Caldwell, who runs a Baha'i bookstore, added: 'One of the tenets of the faith is that you investigate it on your own.'
An intelligence expert said last night that the American military had tried - and often failed - to use weapons inspectors as informants. Did Pederson target Dr Kelly for this reason?
The American Air Force was blocking queries on the subject last night and is believed to have Pederson under its protection.
'The CIA was desperate to get information out of the inspectors,' the expert said. 'It had a policy of putting spooks alongside some of the more unco-operative weapons inspectors.
'It is not inconceivable that she was one of these people. It's an amazing coincidence that she was military - and that now, of course, she has been whisked away by the military.'
[ More extracts from this article coming soon... ]
The Times (UK), "American was Kelly's spiritual mentor", 1 September 2003.
[ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7813-800123,00.html ]
DAVID KELLY had an American woman spiritual mentor who served with him as a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq and later introduced him to the Baha'i religion.
The role of Mai Pederson, a US military linguist, in bringing Dr Kelly to the Baha'i faith was highlighted by Mrs Marilyn VonBerg, who was secretary of the local Baha'i assembly in Monterey, California, when Dr Kelly converted there in 1999.
Mrs VonBerg said Sgt Pederson was "very close" to Dr Kelly's family and had visited them some time before his death. "He and Mai were friends because she had taught him the faith. She is high security so we never asked them questions. But I am sure she was his translator at one point." The VonBerg family received a call from Ms Pederson, an Arabic-speaker who holds the rank of senior staff sergeant, to inform them of Dr Kelly's apparent suicide on July 17.
"All she said is: 'Don't believe what you read in the newspapers," John VonBerg said. "I do not know which direction she was coming from. It's very mysterious to us."
Dr Kelly's friendship with Sgt Pederson has not yet figured in the Hutton inquiry, but further details of Dr Kelly's faith could surface today when his widow, Janice, who suffers from arthritis, and one of his daughters, Rachel, give evidence.
Sgt Pederson, who moved to the Pentagon after working at the Defence Language Institute in Monterey, left the Washington area after Dr Kelly's death for Montgomery, Alabama, where she lives not far from Maxwell Air Force base. She would not comment when contacted through a friend at the weekend.
A US Air Force spokesman in Washington said that she was still listed in the Pentagon's internal telephone directory, but that her extension was not working. Her last known telephone number in the Washington suburbs has been reassigned, but records suggest that she bought a house in Fairfax County, Virginia, for $237,000 (£150,000) in 2001.
A source with access to UN records said that Sgt Pederson served under Dr Kelly on a UN mission to Iraq in December 1998, the last inspection before the withdrawal of UN inspectors and the US-led bombing campaign.
According to Bahai's records Dr Kelly made his declaration of faith on September 25, 1999, less than a year after the withdrawal of UN weapons inspectors.
"They were devoted friends," said Noreen Steinmetz, the current secretary of the Monterey Baha'i assembly, who spoke to Sgt Pedersen at the weekend to convey an interview request from The Times.
Mrs VonBerg, a former secretary of the local Baha'i spiritual assembly in Monterey, remembers Sgt Pederson bringing Dr Kelly to Baha'i meetings before he converted. "Her and David would come to the meetings, and he became a Baha'i. He was studying the faith," she said.
Mrs VonBerg does not know how the two first met, but, like many other Baha'i friends, she assumed that Sgt Pederson helped Dr Kelly to translate from Arabic for his work on Iraq.
She remembers Dr Kelly filing his declaration of faith, marking his conversion to the Baha'i religion, with Sgt Pederson: "We gave him a book and later he bought one in England and sent over to us a book by a scientist who was a Baha'i, and he said the book really helped him to God.
"He was a very spiritual person."
Kristin Caldwell, who works at the Bosch Baha'i school in Santa Cruz, California, admired the depth of Sgt Pederson's faith.
"I lived in Monterey county for over 20 years and she was another Bahai and I truly respected her. I was impressed by somebody who could be son apolitical and still work within the Defence Department."
Iraq - Motives for War
[ http://www.thedebate.org ]
"The Insider" mailing list article, 09 September 2003.
Tags: Dr, David, Kelly, intelligence, spy, Mai, Pederson, murdered, assassinated, Hutton, inquiry, evidence, proof, findings, report, conclusions, CIA, MI5, MI6, May, Peterson, , conspiracy theories.